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Expert Advice: The 11 Best Apps for Remodelers

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Expert Advice: The 11 Best Apps for Remodelers

March 11, 2014

Expand your smart phone or tablet’s job description with apps that turn it into a tool kit, remodeling guide, and all-around design assistant. Here are 11 apps we’ve found extremely useful:

(Discovered any home design or remodeling apps you’ve found indispensable? Share your finds in the comments section below.)

Design Tool Apps

1. iHandy Carpenter

no need to lug measuring tools: the ihandy carpenter app includes two types of  17
Above: No need to lug measuring tools: the iHandy Carpenter App includes two types of levels, a ruler, protractor, and a plumb bob (a tool that verifies the verticality of lines or walls). The iHandy Carpenter App for iPhone and iPad and the iHandy Carpenter App for Android are both $1.99.

2. Photomeasures

if you&#8\2\17;re like me, you pull out the measuring tape and jot down fig 18
Above: If you’re like me, you pull out the measuring tape and jot down figures on a sticky note to take shopping or pass along to your contractor. Inevitably, the note gets lost or mixed in with the other crumpled notes at the bottom of your bag–or you just plain forget exactly which measurements belong to what. Instead, consider using Photomeasures, an app that allows you to take a photo of a space and draw the measurements directly on it. You can also add notes (“thinking sofa could go here”). Brilliant, eh? The Photomeasures App for Android is $4.99 (a free Photomeasures Lite for Android version is also available). The Photomeasure App for iPhone and iPad is $6.99.

3. AutoDesk Homestyler

autodesk homestyler app 19Above: The AutoDesk Homestyler app allows you to experiment with paint colors, furnishings, and layouts using photos of your choosing. It’s a great way to “try on” before making big decisions. The AutoDesk Homestyler for iPhone and iPad and the AutoDesk Homestyler for Android are both free.

4. Home Design 3D

whether you want to rearrange your furniture or create a draft of your ideal ki 20
Above: Whether you want to rearrange your furniture or create a draft of your ideal kitchen layout before meeting with your architect, there are several apps available for creating floor plans, including the highly-rated Home Design 3D ($5.99) and Home Design DIY–Mark on Call ($2.99), both for the iPhone and iPad.

5. Sun Seeker

 a tool for helping with the placement of lighting, artwork, work tables,  21
Above: A tool for helping with the placement of lighting, artwork, work tables, and other items dependent on lighting conditions, the Sun Seeker app is recommended by architect John Maniscalco, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory. “Using the GPS in the phone, you can stand on a site, move the phone across the sky and it will show you where the sun will be located at various times of day and times of year. It’s very useful for understanding site conditions and daylighting.” The Sun Seeker App for Android is $7.49 and the Sun Seeker App for iPhone and iPad is $9.99. Image by Jonathan Hokklo.

6. Handy Man

wish you had a handyman to help figure out how much paint or carpet you need? t 22
Above: Wish you had a handyman to help figure out how much paint or carpet you need? The Handy Man Calculator for Android (free) helps calculate room dimensions, square footage, and costs. The app also offers shopping and task lists, as well as DIY tutorials. (The Handy Man DIY for iPhone and iPad is currently unavailable in the US.)

7. I.D. Wood

stumble across your dream wood floors at a restaurant? use the i.d. wood app fo 23
Above: Stumble across your dream wood floors at a restaurant? Use the I.D. Wood App for iPhone and iPad ($4.99) to help identify the wood and find out if it’s applicable to your setup.

8. Taskrabbit

Inspiration Apps

9. Pinterest

Expert Advice The 11 Best Apps for Remodelers portrait 4

Above: Pinterest is perhaps the most useful and well-known source for design inspiration. The app allows you to pin photos while browsing on your mobile device and easily access your Pinterest account and all the clippings you’ve already saved and organized. It’s a great resource for planning projects and sharing your image inspiration on the go–shown here, a peek at my Pinterest kitchen board. The Pinterest App for iPhone and iPad and the Pinterest App for Android are both free.

10. Phaidon Design Classics

phaidon design classics app for iphone and ipad (\$\14.99) puts phaidon&am 24
Above: Phaidon Design Classics App for iPhone and iPad ($14.99) puts Phaidon’s three-volume illustrated history of 1,000 timeless product designs at your fingertips in an easily navigable app. A product design encyclopedia tucked into your mobile device.

11. Color Capture

paint manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon with paint color apps that are 25
Above: Paint manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon with paint color apps that are fun and inspiring. Benjamin Moore’s Color Capture App for iPhone and iPad (and Color Capture for Android) allows you to snap a photo of a color inspiration and get the match from Benjamin Moore’s paint colors. Both versions are free.

(A fan of Pantone colors? The myPantone App for iPhone and iPad (and myPantone for Android) lets you carry the Pantone color chart in your device; free and $7.99 respectively.)

Buyer beware! Philip Reno, owner of G & R paints and creator of Philip’s Perfect Colors, warns that while paint color apps can be used as an inspirational tool, their utility beyond that is limited. “None of them have the capability to accurately represent paint colors as they are in the real world,” Reno says. “The difference between the emitted light from a screen display and the reflected light of paint on a wall has not been satisfactorily bridged to date. Paint color is so subtle, it’s just one of those things you have to see to appreciate.”

Project Organization and Management Apps

12. Asana Mobile App

allison bloom of dehn bloom design uses task management apps with her 26
Above: Allison Bloom of Dehn Bloom Design uses task management apps with her clients to share To-Do lists, photos, product links, and the like. The Asana Mobile App for iPhone and iPad and the Asana Mobile App for Android are free.

Wondering which gardening apps are worthwhile? See Gardenista’s Top 10 Gardening Apps You Need Now and Plant Identifier: Apps to ID Leaves and Flowers.

Interested in more apps and gadgets? See:

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Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of design apps for remodelers?

Design apps for remodelers are intended to help them visualize the result, share their plans, and make informed decisions while working on a home renovation project.

How can I benefit from using design apps for home renovation?

Design apps for home renovation can help you to make effective decisions, communicate design plans to your contractor, and even preview the end result in a 3D model. You can also experiment with different design elements and layouts before starting the renovation.

Are there any user-friendly design apps available for remodelers?

Yes, there are many user-friendly design apps available for remodelers such as Houzz, Home Advisor, and MagicPlan. They offer easy-to-use features including drag-and-drop functionality and intuitive navigation.

Are design apps only useful for a major renovation?

Design apps are equally useful for a small renovation or DIY project. They can help you decide on color schemes, tile designs, furniture placement and more.

Can I use design apps to create a rough budget for my renovation project?

Yes, most design apps offer features to help you price out materials, and some even provide actual products and prices so you can create a rough budget.

What type of devices are compatible with design apps?

The majority of design apps are compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

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